Dirt Rag Magazine

First Impression: Raleigh EVA 7.5


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Quite a few bike manufactures are making women’s specific bikes these days and many of them are employing the tweener, 27.5 wheel size. Raleigh has joined the party with its 2014 Eva hardtail line which has switched to 27.5 wheels throughout. Last year’s Eva models were all 29ers and I had the opportunity to review the Eva 29 Comp (Dirt Rag Issue #172). I’m excited to get a chance to ride the 2014 model and compare the two.

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First Impressions: Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt


rocky-mountain-thunderbolt-1 The Thunderbolt is an all-new model in Rocky Mountain’s 2014 lineup. With its 120mm of travel, this 27.5 dual-boinger is Rocky’s general-purpose “XC” platform. The Thunderbolt slots in between the company’s Element “XC race” and Instinct “trail” bikes. Mind you, the folks from BC have high expectations of what an XC bike should do. Product manager Ken Perras told me, “The bike is designed to put the fun back into XC riding. That means hitting the lines reserved for something with a bit more travel, linking up those roots into a double, and letting go of the brakes on that crazy chute.” Read the full story

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Inside Line: First look at 2015 Scott lineup


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Photos by Mike Schirf.

Last week Scott kicked off its 2015 product season at the lavish Stein Eriksen Lodge in Deer Valley near Park City, Utah. It was a great venue for some first impressions on the newly tweaked trail bikes and a look at their broad lineup of offerings. From the bike under you to the helmet on your head, and everything in between, Scott has something worth checking out.

I spent quite a bit of my time riding the Deer Valley trails on either the 27.5 Genius 700 Tuned or any of the 27.5 Genius 700LT models that I could get my hands on. The LT was a very hot bike during our stay and there weren’t enough for the rabid press to go around.

See the new bikes here.

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First Impression: Riding Salsa’s full-suspension fat bike, the Bucksaw


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We had seen it coming. There were spy shots and rumors tossed around about a full-suspension fat bike. In fact, the Bucksaw isn’t even the first one—several smaller brands have built bikes that qualified as “full-suspension”, but this one is different. This is a major brand making a big commitment to a new product segment, and bringing an advanced suspension design with it. Mike Riemer, Salsa’s Marketing Manager, said that Dave Weagle, the creator of the Bucksaw’s Split Pivot suspension, told him it was the most complex project he had ever worked on.

One thing is for sure, this is not a “stealthy” bike. From the big tires to the candy-colored paint, the Bucksaw is breaking a new trail in mountain biking. But how does it ride?

Click here to find out.

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Inside Line Exclusive: First ride on Salsa’s new carbon Horsethief


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Salsa got its foot in the door last year with the introduction of the carbon fiber Beargrease, and now it’s applying that experience to the Horsethief and Spearfish models. We got a sneak peek and a first ride on the 120mm-travel Horsethief at the Scott Enduro Cup in Park City, Utah.

Built to tackle big rides in big mountains, the aluminum Horsethief adopted the excellent Split Pivot suspension last year and the carbon model matches the geometry of the that model, with a 130mm fork, 17.2-inch chainstays and a 68.1 degree head tube angle.

Get all the details here.

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First Impression: Lauf’s radical leaf-spring suspension fork


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I’ve always been drawn to unusual products and technologies. When the strangest gear shows up at Dirt Rag HQ I’m always first to raise my hand to try it. After all, that’s how cycling journalists like myself earn the big bucks. When I saw the Lauf forks at the Sea Otter expo I knew we had to get one in the pages of Dirt Rag.

Like countless great ideas, the genesis of the Lauf came over post-ride beers. The goal was to create the lightest possible racing suspension fork. Using the latest composite materials, the engineering team made it a reality, with the prototype winning its first race in June 2013.

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Now, I’m not going to be winning any races any time soon, but I’ve been riding with a rigid carbon fork for a few years now, and the concept of the leaf spring Lauf didn’t seem so crazy to me. While it looks outrageous, the 60mm of suspension travel is accomplished by flexing the six composite leaf springs per leg.

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First Impression: Pivot Vault cyclocross/gravel bike


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I’ve been a drop-bar, off-roading rider for a couple decades, so the whole ‘gravel’ category is a little late-coming and a bit cliché for me. Who wouldn’t want to ride a properly-specced and comfortable performance bike anywhere and everywhere? Isn’t that the point of adventure seeking?

What’s new for me and others is the marriage of drop bars and disc brakes, which makes perfect sense for many reasons, including better speed control and less hand fatigue. I’m more comfortable on drop bars, and make use of all the hand positions afforded by the extra real estate, so having better control at the levers gives me more confidence. The Pivot Vault caught my eye as a modern carbon all-rounder to stack up against my 24-plus years of off-road riding experience, and it offers several interesting features.

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